• Medicare coverers medically necessary dermatology care, including eczema treatments.
  • You can get coverage for creams, oral tablets, injections, and phototherapy.
  • Medicare will cover many treatments at a low cost.

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a very common skin condition that causes an itchy red rash.

Many people treat their eczema with over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines or moisturizing lotion. For some people, though, eczema is severe and doesn’t respond to those treatments.

In this case, you may need medical treatment for your eczema. These treatment options include:

  • medicated creams
  • oral tablets
  • injections
  • phototherapy

Medicare will help cover the cost of all these treatments, especially if over-the-counter methods don’t help your eczema.

Medicare will cover the treatments and care you need if you have eczema, as long as the care is considered medically necessary.

Medicare defines “medically necessary” services as those used to diagnose, treat, or prevent a condition.

Medicare also requires that treatment is proven for your condition. This means it won’t pay for any experimental treatments.

However, as long as your treatment is proven and your doctor verifies it’s to treat your eczema, Medicare should cover it.

Which parts of Medicare are best if you have eczema?
  • Part A. You’ll need a Medicare Part A plan to cover hospital stays.
  • Part B. Medicare Part B will cover your doctor’s office visits and any specialist visits you need.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage). A Medicare Advantage plan will cover everything that parts A and B do. It might include additional coverage. Prescription coverage is often included. Copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance might also be lower.
  • Part D. You’ll need a Part D plan to cover the cost of prescriptions, including creams, oral tablets, and injections.
  • Medicare supplement (Medigap). Medigap plans help you cover the out-of-pocket costs of parts A and B. This could save you a lot of money if you need phototherapy for your eczema.

Your eczema treatment will depend on the type of eczema you have and on its severity. Different treatments are covered differently by Medicare and under different Medicare parts.

Here are your eczema treatment options and what Medicare covers for each:

Corticosteroid creams

These prescription creams are used to control itching and rebuild your skin. They’re covered by Medicare drug plans.

That means you’ll need a Part D plan or a Part C plan that includes Part D coverage.

Calcineurin inhibitor creams

Calcineurin inhibitor creams help calm your skin and reduce:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • itching

You’ll need Part D or an Advantage plan to cover these creams, just like corticosteroid creams. Medicare might also require your doctor to verify that other treatments for your eczema haven’t been successful.

Antibiotic creams

You might be prescribed an antibiotic cream if you have a bacterial infection on your skin that’s causing or aggravating your eczema.

Antibiotic creams are covered by the same rules as corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. You’ll need a Part D or an Advantage plan for coverage.

Oral antibiotics

Oral antibiotics can help you fight an infection. You’ll generally take these for only a short time.

Coverage for all prescription medications, including oral antibiotics, comes from a Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Oral corticosteroids

Corticosteroids can help bring down serious inflammation. Your doctor might prescribe them if your eczema is severe. Oral corticosteroids can’t be taken as a long-term solution.

You’ll need a Part D or an Advantage plan for coverage. You’ll also need verification from your doctor that your eczema is severe and not responding to other treatments.

Wet dressings

Wet dressings can help when your eczema is severe. The affected parts of your skin will be covered with corticosteroid creams and wrapped in wet bandages.

You could receive your wet dressings at home or in the hospital.

You might have this treatment done at a hospital if your eczema is widespread. If you receive wet dressings in the hospital, your coverage will come from Medicare Part A or an Advantage plan, if you have one.

Wet dressings you do at home will be covered under either Part D or an Advantage plan, since you’ll need a prescription for the corticosteroid cream.

Phototherapy

Phototherapy is also called light therapy. In this therapy, your skin is exposed to controlled amounts of sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light. Your doctor might recommend this if your eczema doesn’t respond to other treatments.

Phototherapy treatments are done in your doctor’s office. They’ll be covered under Medicare Part B or by your Advantage plan if you have one.

Your doctor will need to verify that your eczema doesn’t respond to other treatments before Medicare will cover phototherapy.

Injectable dupilumab (Dupixent)

Injectable dupilumab (brand name Dupixent) is a new treatment option for severe eczema, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017.

Dupilumab is used to help lower inflammation levels in people who don’t respond well to other eczema treatments.

According to GoodRx, about 53 percent of Part D and Medicare Advantage plans cover dupilumab. Check with your individual Medicare plan provider if your doctor recommends dupilumab for your eczema.

Eczema costs can vary widely, depending on the treatment option you need and the specific Medicare plan you choose.

Here are estimates of the costs of common treatments.

Eczema treatment costs with and without Medicare

TreatmentCost with Medicare
(depends the specific plan you choose)
Cost without Medicare
(approximate cost as per GoodRx)
Corticosteroid creams
(Prices are for Cutivate, a commonly prescribed cream.)
$0
(or very low cost)
$11 or more per tube
Calcineurin inhibitor creams (Prices are for Protopic, a commonly prescribed cream.)$1–$7 per tube$241 per tube
Antibiotic creams
(Prices are for Mupirocin, a commonly prescribed cream.)
$0
(or very low cost)
$56 per tube
Oral antibiotics
(Prices are for Amoxicillin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic.)
$0
(or very low cost)
$12 per 21 capsules
Oral corticosteroids
(Prices are for Medrol, a commonly prescribed oral corticosteroid.)
$0
(or very low cost)
$30 per 21 tablets
Wet dressingsAt-home treatments will follow the pricing of corticosteroid creams.

For inpatient hospital treatments you’ll pay your 2021 Part A deductible of $1,484, then your costs will be covered unless you stay in the hospital for over 60 days.

Medicare Advantage plan costs will depend on your plan.
Costs vary widely depending on whether you do the treatment at home or in the hospital.

At-home treatment costs similar to corticosteroid creams.

Hospital treatment done inpatient include the cost of hospitalization and average costs for a three-day hospital stay are around 30,000 dollars.
Phototherapy20% of the Medicare-approved amount for each session;
Medicare Part B will pay the other 80%.

Medicare Advantage plan costs will depend on your plan.
$2,000–$3,000 per session
Injectable dupilumab (Dupixent)$186–$3,500$3,500 for two injectable doses

You’ll need to be eligible for Medicare to get coverage for eczema. You can gain Medicare eligibility in one of three ways:

Once you’re eligible for Medicare, you can use your coverage to help treat your eczema.

There are a few ways to enroll in Medicare if you’re eligible.

In some cases, you’ll be enrolled automatically and won’t have to take any steps. This happens when you’ve received 24 months of SSDI or if you retire before age 65 and receive Social Security retirement benefits.

In both cases, you’ll receive information about your Medicare enrollment in the mail. You can then decide which parts of Medicare you want to enroll in.

If you’re not enrolled automatically, you’ll need to apply. You can do this in a few ways:

  • filling out an online application
  • calling Social Security (800-772-1213)
  • visiting your local Social Security office
  • writing a letter to your local Social Security office

You might have to provide information about your work history and finances along with your application. Once your application is approved, you can decide which parts of Medicare you want to enroll in.

Medicare enrollment dates
  • Initial enrollment period. The 7-month enrollment window around your 65th birthday beginning 3 months before your birth month, including the month of your birthday, and extending 3 months after your birthday. You can enroll in all parts of Medicare without a penalty during this period.
  • Open enrollment period (October 15–December 7). During this time, you can switch from original Medicare (parts A and B) to Part C (Medicare Advantage), or from Part C back to original Medicare. You can also switch Part C plans or add, remove, or change a Part D plan.
  • General enrollment period (January 1–March 31). You can enroll in Medicare now if you didn’t enroll during your initial enrollment period.
  • Special enrollment period. If you delayed Medicare enrollment for an approved reason, you may enroll during a special enrollment period. You have 8 months from the end of your coverage or the end of your employment to sign up for Medicare without penalty.
  • Medicare Advantage open enrollment (January 1–March 31). During this period, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or go back to original Medicare. You can’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan if you currently have original Medicare.
  • Part D enrollment/Medicare add-ons (April 1–June 30). If you don’t have Medicare Part A but you enrolled in Part B during the general enrollment period, you can sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Medigap enrollment. This 6-month period starts after the first day of the month that you apply for original Medicare or from your 65th birthday. If you miss this enrollment period, you may not be able to get a Medigap plan. If you do get one later, you may pay higher premiums for it.

  • Medicare will provide coverage for your eczema treatment.
  • Some treatments, such as topical creams, are often free or very low lost when you have Medicare Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Other treatments might be more costly, but your costs will be significantly less than paying out of pocket.
  • A Medigap plan could reduce your treatment copayments.